What to do About a Leaky Gut

“All disease begins in the gut.”  -Hippocrates

Our microbiome or “the gut” as it’s commonly known is referred to as the “second brain” by scientists.  It’s responsible for 80% of our immune response.  Plus most nutrient absorption and cleansing take place in a healthy microbiome.  This means that everything from energy to weight loss to mental clarity to digestion can be traced back to a healthy microbiome.

Whether you are a professional racing to meet deadlines, a parent running a household, a student managing a class schedule or retired,  Keeping your gut healthy is imperative for cognitive function, mood, digestion and even mental health.

Due to the increasing toxicity of our food supply and the availability and advertising of unhealthy, processed foods wherever we go (I mean do I really need to buy cookies, chips and soda  at Staples?) gut issues have become ubiquitous.  A common ailment in the United states is Leaky Gut.

Leaky gut is also known as increased intestinal permeability. It’s when the cells lining our intestines (gut) separate a bit from each other. They’re supposed to be nice and tightly joined to the cell beside it; this is to allow certain things into our bodies (like nutrients), and keep other things out.

This is healthy villi – keeping toxins out

When the tight junctions between intestinal cells weaken it can cause the gut to be more permeable – leakier – than normal. When this happens, it allows things into our bodies that should not get in; things like large pieces of protein, toxins, or even bacteria and waste.  When substances that shouldn’t be there get into our bloodstream through the “leaks” in our gut, our immune system kicks in. These leaked bits mimic a food allergy, and our body reacts accordingly. It mounts a response to try to attack the invaders, and this causes inflammation.

Leaky gut is associated with a number of issues including food allergies, celiac disease, autoimmune diseases (e.g., Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Hashimoto’s, asthma, type 1 diabetes, acne, eczema), joint pain, and neurological problems (e.g., multiple sclerosis). Some research shows that leaky gut might contribute to or worsen these conditions.

While some of our gut permeability may have a genetic factor, there are lifestyle habits that contribute as well. Too much sugar or alcohol, and not enough fiber can make things worse. Even certain compounds in foods (e.g., gluten, lectins, casein, fructose) and food additives (e.g., MSG) can weaken tight junctions.  A toxic GMO food supply also endangers our gut health.

So, what should we eat, and ditch, for optimal gut health?

Avoid or reduce these

There are certain foods that irritate the gut or can cause those loosened junctions to get even looser.  Some of these include:

  • Foods that you’re allergic to
  • Foods with added sugar
  • Foods containing MSG
  • Foods with sugar alcohols (e.g., sorbitol)
  • Gluten-containing grains (e.g., wheat, rye)
  • High-lectin foods (e.g., grains, legumes)
  • Nightshades (e.g., eggplant, peppers, tomato)
  • Dairy (which contains casein & lactose)
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Processed foods

It’s a good idea to reduce these foods and if leaky gut is a confirmed issue for you, avoid them until the leaky gut has been addressed.

Eat more of these

There are also a bunch of foods that support gut health, including the intestinal cells themselves, as well as our friendly gut microbes. Many of these also reduce inflammation.  Things like:

  • Probiotic-rich fermented foods (e.g., sauerkraut, kimchi)
  • Prebiotic fibre-rich foods which help our gut microbes produce butyrate (e.g., leafy greens, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds)
  • Glutamine-rich foods (e.g., bone broth, meat)
  • Zinc-rich foods (e.g., shellfish, organ meats, and pumpkin seeds)
  • Quercetin-rich foods (e.g., citrus, apples, onions)
  • Curcumin-rich turmeric
  • Indole-rich foods (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens)

These are all nutritious foods that can help with gut health and overall health.  It’s not just what you eat that can affect your gut. Other lifestyle habits can help too.

Try:

  • Supplementing with a gut healing product like Biome Medic to remove toxic chemicals from your body, boost nutrient absorption and regrow the vili (the cells that separate and leak toxins in your body)
  • Eating slower and chewing better to help break down food better
  • Eating when hungry, and stopping when satisfied
  • Going to the bathroom when you need to (don’t hold it for longer than necessary)
  • Getting more high-quality sleep
  • Better stress management

All of these are great healthy habits to get into, gut problems or not.

Conclusion

To help keep our guts (and our bodies) in optimal condition, there are a lot of foods we should eat (and lots we should reduce).  Sticking with nutrient-dense unprocessed foods is always a good plan, whether you have gut issues, other concerns, or feel completely healthy.  Reducing GMO laded foods will protect you from the toxic chemical glyphosate (if it’s not organic, it’s GMO, round-up crops from Monsanto) which is linked to many illnesses including leaky gut.

And, don’t forget the importance of a healthy lifestyle like good eating habits, sleep, and stress management!

Which of these foods have you added or reduced? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Recipe (Gut supporting): Braised Greens with Turmeric

Serves 4

2 bunches leafy greens (kale, chard, collards), washed and chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

½ tsp turmeric

2 dashes salt and pepper

Minced garlic – to your liking (optional)

Chopped Onion – to your liking (optional)

Instructions

Juice the lemon and add spices.  Set aside.  Heat the olive oil onion and garlic (if using) in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the greens and a splash of water.  Sauté until the greens start to wilt.  Add lemon juice & spices and stir.  Remove from heat.  Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Serve this as a side dish (hot or cold), add to soup or a wrap.

 

References:

http://gmorepair.com/

https://www.thepaleomom.com/8-nutrients-for-leaky-gut/

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/leaky-gut-syndrome/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/leaky-gut-what-is-it-and-what-does-it-mean-for-you-2017092212451

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-nutrition-gut-health

http://www.navacenter.com/community/article-library/browse/2015/06/01/your-body’s-second-brain—the-importance-of-gut-health

Marisol Ballaro

My name is Marisol Ballaro, and I am your own personal health coach and life buddy. I have always worked in service to others. If you are interested in a gentle way to make lifestyle changes to dramatically improve your health (weight loss, reducing your risk of lifestyle diseases) and well-being (better mood, energy and sense of purpose), I’m your woman. Check out my programs for more info!

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